Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Gold

The Oscars are tonight and it’s time to tell you what I thought of four of the most recent nominated movies I’ve seen:

The Kings Speech

The quintessentially British Colin Firth portrayed HRH King George VI in Tom Hooper's adaptation of the true story of an incredible issue which the king suffered from; that of speaking. Hooper explored the lengths at which Queen Elizabeth [Helena Bonham Carter] went to go correct “Bertie”’s affliction until finally discovering one Lionel Logue [Geoffrey Rush] who aided the king in overcoming his condition well enough to address the entire nation in it’s time of need.

It’s fair to say that most people will enjoy this seemingly uneventful royal borefest simply for its artistic quality, script and acting performances. The standard of performances themselves is beyond anything I’d normally choose to sample myself in the cinema and it made for an interesting change of pace from my usual class of entertainment. While I certainly won’t be making a habit of it, I’d not be as vehemently opposed to a historical non-war related drama should one emerge this time next year.

Oscars should be dispensed here to both Bonham Carter and especially Firth who possess a remarkable ability to adopt the persona of their characters, icons of British history.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky is a “weird” director who makes “weird” movies. If you’ve seen Requiem For A Dream for example and either understood or worse – enjoyed it; then not only are you weird too, you’re also a little creepy to me now as well. I don’t think I knew who he was back when I first spoke on 2IGTV about his RoboCop reboot, but when I discovered how weird he was and that he had his sights on RoboCop; I prayed the project would fail. My prayers were answered with the economic collapse of MGM which sadly took Bond and Hobbits with it until recently but if I had the time to live over I’d gladly delay both Bond and The Hobbit until now just so Aronofsky couldn’t make RoboCop.

To address his latest movie however; Black Swan was shockingly shit! It served absolutely no practical entertainment purpose whatsoever. Even it's one hook, the promise of a graphic lesbian sex scene between Hollywood sirens Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis failed to ignite even the most excitable of cinema patrons. "We didn't even see tits, let alone pussy!" said a disgruntled teenaged Tweeter.

Now while I’m sure that Ms. Portman’s performance was simply wonderful, I was so distracted by the disturbing and bizarre nature of the subject matter and possibly the stupidity and predictability of where the plot was going, that her work was sadly lost on me. One single grace here was an interesting performance from Winona Ryder as the former prima ballerina now past her prime which seems to echo Ryder's own career with delicious irony.

Oscar may go to Portman for her hard work but it would be a shame to bestow such a talented actress with an honour for this blight on celluloid.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *

The Fighter

The only other movie I know David O' Russell made was 3 Kings which despite its Gulf War setting, failed to meet the mark in my book. So naturally I was apprehensive about seeing The Fighter, basically a biographical sports movie about a boxer I never heard of. The cast intrigued me however, Mark Wahlberg, who rarely fails to impress, Christian Bale, one of the finest actors of his generation and Amy Adams, a nice bit of redhead totty.

I'll have to say it was the sheer quality of the performances and the story which made this movie as good as it was. Wahlberg was quite adequate as the protagonist, 'Irish' Micky Ward. At first reluctant to leave his overbearing family for the promise of sporting glory but soon embraced it only to find that he truly needed the support of everyone to succeed. Melissa Leo an underrated character actress who came to peoples attention first for her years on Homicide: Life on the Street put in an exceptional and sometimes humorous turn as the Ward family matriarch. Adams proved to everyone that she's not just a hot babe and can actually act - I've seen her in a far few things now and I honestly had no idea - well done Amy. But then we come to Christian Bale, the man absorbed himself in the role so much that you honestly believed he was a jittering, deluded has-been drug-addict and not a multi-million dollar actor. And certainly not the man who sang The Powerpuff Girls theme song. It's not until the credits roll and you see the real "Dicky" Eklund that you realise how much Bale became him.

With performances like these, the actual movie could've bee complete crap and no one would have noticed. It wasn't however, it's a classic underdog story of two men who took the reigns of their own destiny and accomplished something against the odds.

If the Oscar doesn't go to Bale for Supporting Actor, I'll shoot someone.

Colonel CreedonRating: ****

True Grit

I've not seen a Western since 3:10 To Yuma in '07 when Russel Crowe and Ben Foster put in a good turn in a remake of the 1957 original. True Grit pretty much follows the same line, a stellar cast to update and make a superior movie to the original. The Coen Brothers are usually a bit too off-the-wall for my tastes but I had heard that their eccentricity was very toned down for this in comparison to previous efforts which intrigued me.

Jeff Bridges is fantastic as always as a drunken US Marshal that's a little too trigger happy for his superiors, but he always gets his man. He's hired by a plucky young girl [Hailee Steinfeld] who wants justice for her fathers murder and together with Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger they go to track down the murderer [John Brolin] who rides with Barry Pepper's gang.

The movie contains much of the humour you'd find with the Coen Brothers but fused with a raw brutal violence which I'll admit can catch you off guard even when you think you may suspect what's going to happen. The movie is mainly through the eyes of it's heroine but is far from innocent in presentation. It's exceptionally well written and the character dialogue is perhaps a bit more realistic for it's setting, which serves to draw you in more then one normally would be with a Western.

I've not seen the John Wayne original but from all accounts, it wasn't a great movie. It's widely known Wayne won the Oscar as a "career" award rather than for his performance in True Grit. Sadly due to continued Oscar snobbery, the new True Grit won't get any significant Oscars as it's a remake and deemed "unworthy".

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

I saw Toy Story 3 and Inception last year as well. Toy Story will get an award. Inception deserves an award it can't get because Chris Nolan doesn't play the Oscar committee's game. But hopefully it will pick up a technical one for visual effects or something or perhaps Hans Zimmer will pick up one for the score.


Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, Queen Elizabeth?, are you inventing monarchs now?

Do you mean the Queen Consort Elizabeth? the Queen Mum?, God rest her.

Her daughter, the current reigning monarch is Elizabeth II. Elizabeth I is dead and gone a long time now. So are you referring to her Majesty's Mum as Elizabeth 1.5?

See,this is why I cannot bring you to any diplomatic functions.

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

Yes Civvy, I mean Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen Consort whom was known as Her Majesty The Queen until 1952 at which point she bacame Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

Also holding the titles Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Lady of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, Grand Master and Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, Relict of His Majesty King George the Sixth and Mother of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth The Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

And for clarity is referred to as "Queen Elizabeth" in the credits of the film as she was so often in history itself even though it may not be technically correct it is an accepted reference.

Constance said...

Oooh, Civvy, you know an awful lot about the English Monarchy. Brushing up in case you get invited to the wedding?

Former Grunt said...

With the exception of Bonham Carter losing to Leo and Hans loosing out to Ross you predicted Firth, Portman, Bale, Toy Story's and Inception's awards sucessfully!

How can someone with his finget so accuratly on the pulse of cinema claim to not dive a damn about them?

Nevertheless, well done Colonel.

Former Grunt said...


How can someone with his finger so accuratly on the pulse of cinema claim to not give a damn about them?

Was what it's supposed to say. What can I say? It's half 10 and I've been drinking...

Constance said...

oh, yes. Misspellings. Civvy begged pardon for himself with an injured paw excuse. Drinking? Aren't you being encouraged to rethink(ing) your drinking? Go to That's .ie, not .ied .ied is a completely different website.

The King's Speech was excellent. Not the sort of movie I would go to see on my own, but I loved both Firth and Bonham Carter. I'm sorry she was overlooked. All of Melissa Leo's acceptance speeches make me want to fast forward, and I missed the f-bomb because of that.

Black Swan was too flawed to enjoy. I saw Mila Kunis giving an interview about being en pointe for the movie and learning to fake being a ballet dancer for a year. It wasn't long enough!! The minute the movie opened close up on dancing feet I was disturbed. Those were not the moves of a professional dancer. Why didn't they use actual dancers for some of these things? On that opening you know that the dancer pictured (Portman) is not an authentic ballerina, and the believability goes downhill from there. If the feet don't convince you, just have a look at the arms.

Didn't see the Fighter or True Grit. Well, I saw parts of True Grit. And I did not care for your girlfriend Amy's dress.

Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, just as long as you admit when you are wrong, go you are forgiven, waves injured paw majestically

Connie, don't you realise that I'm a sixteenth cousin of her Majesty?

Grunt, drinking on the job again?, Sigh!, Good help is so hard to find these days...

Connie, when one is one sixteenth cousin of Her Majesty's one does not beg pardon, one has one's Butler or "Work Chav" in the common parlance do it for one. Observe, Grunt! see to the lady's begging needs and be quick about it or must I dish out a damn good trashing.